> I'm a beginner and am training for my first 5k in March. I've been
> trying to wade through the newsgroup and FAQs, but I can't seem to find
> a couple of pieces of info.
> 1. Is there a recommended weight lifting [regime] for runners?
Interesting you should ask that question. I'm in the middle of doing an
experiment with myself as the subject. I'll post a full report at some
point in the future when I've had enough time to better see the results
and understand them, but for now, allow me *disagree* with the other two
responses you've received so far.
Specifically, I'll refer you to "Power To The People" by Pavel
Tsatsouline, who trained Soviet Special Forces. He has a very
interesting take on weight lifting, and his focus is strength, pure and
simple, not becoming the next Ah-nold <smile>.
*Theory* Pavel says doing large numbers of repetitions tends to build
muscle mass, something you don't particularly want as a runner. Of
course, if you do high reps and you use very little weight, you won't
build your muscles mass very much, but neither will you become much
stronger - that's the important part to realize. The "pump" you get in
your muscles from doing high repetitions isn't an indicator of strength
or increased muscle size; it's just a lot of *** going to your muscles
to deal with the high repetitions you're throwing at them, nothing
more. Body builders do high reps, too, and none of us runners wants to
be a body builder.
*My Old Regime* I used to spend about 60-90 minutes in the gym, three
times a week. I scheduled (and still do) my sessions after my hard runs
so that I'd have plenty of time to recover before the next hard run, and
I did almost all the weight machines my gym had, performing 3 sets of 15
repetitions on each, short rests between sets of :30-1:00, and ending up
with 500-1000 crunches on an ab roller.
*My New Regime* About two months ago, I switched to the Comrade Pavel
philosophy, which is very simple - 2 sets of 5 repetitions of only a few
exercises, with long rests between sets of 3:00-5:00, but with much
heavier weight. "1RM" is weight lifting shorthand for "One Repetition
Maximum", or the most you could lift if you had to do it once only.
Pavel recommends doing your first set of 5 at 90% of your 1RM, then the
second set at 80% of 1RM. Contrary to popular belief, working your
muscles to exhaustion is another thing that doesn't make them stronger
without making them bigger. If you want strength and no bulk, you want
to avoid exhausting your muscles. What you want instead is an intense
but short session, one that requires you to really tighten your abs and
back, one in which you really focus for a few short repetitions and then
stop feeling like you could have done at least one more.
He recommends doing only two exercises: deadlifts (where you pick up a
barbell from the floor, stand up with it but don't lift it any further,
then put it down again), and one-armed overhead presses (where you take
a barbell and hoist it overhead with one hand). I do those two, plus
crunches because I like the extra ab work, but I now do my crunches on
an angled board at the steepest position, I do 3 sets of 5, and I do
them *very* slowly.
*Results* The difference in how strong I am and how I feel is so
dramatic as to be difficult for even me to believe. The best example
for me is my lower back - I have two herniated discs, and beside those
I've had twinges and tingles in my lower back for the last 20 years.
Now, seemingly miraculously, I have none. Those ab muscles I've always
wanted have appeared, and everyday life just seems easier because I'm so
much stronger. I look thinner but my weight is the same.
*Conclusion* Let's put this in a running perspective - I am not
_faster_ because of my weight lifting, but I am stronger, and that
strength helps me finish a hard workout, helps keep my form good when
I'm tired at the end of long run, and somehow deadlifting, which works
the heck out of the backs of your legs, has made touching my toes
easier, not harder as I expected.
> 2. So many of the articles/postings recommend to run a minimum of 3
> times a week (including most of the "How to run your 1st 5k" articles),
> but I don't really feel like that will get me there. I've been doing a
> run/walk combo 5 days a week (or so) for a few weeks now. Should I lay
> off and do the 3 days? Or should I do the 3 days of running and maybe 3
> days of weights?
Either you lift on your hard days or you lift on your easy days. As I
said above, I lift on my hard days, run in the AM, lift in the PM, so
that I've got a day and a half minimum to recover before my next hard
run. 5 days a week is fine, so is running 6 or 7 days a week, just
alternate hard and easy days. Sometimes back-to-back hard days can work
for you but be careful. There are lots of good books on running
training; my favorite is Jack Daniels, "Running Formula." The main
thing is to learn to sense when you need rest and take it; if you don't,
you get injured or sick and then you can't continue to train as you
Hope all this is of some help to you.